Coventry University held a ‘Future of Transport Design Debate’ at their Simulation Centre on the Coventry University Technology Park. This annual debate was taking a light-hearted but serious look at issues which will influence transport design in the future.
The debate was chaired by Steve Cropley, Editor in Chief of Autocar at Haymarket Media Group, with an expert panel of Andrew Everett, Chief Strategy Officer at the Transport Systems Catapult, David Hilton, Senior Design Director at NextEV, Dr Cyriel Diels, Human Factors Researcher at Coventry University and Dr George Gillespie OBE, CEO of Horiba MIRA.
This year the event concentrated on electric and autonomous vehicles, with the need for greater integration requiring the topics to touch on areas such as rail and freight. A huge subject to try and cover, but the discussion was moved along expertly by Steve Copley, through the death of ‘Car Culture’ as we know it, the car’s current status likened to that of the horse in the early 1900s and how do Local Authorities influence the debate?.
The audience came from engineering and design consultancies, OEM’s, research institutions and govermental departments and although everyone could see both opportunities and challenges through the speed of development of current technology, the over whelming feeling for the future was one of excitement in finding and designing solutions.
The event also gave attendees the chance to view ‘virtually’ The National Transport Design Centre (NTDC) whose construction has already started on Coventry University’s Technology Park. The centre is being funded through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the government’s multimillion pound Local Growth Deal, with an initial £7 million contribution.
State-of-the-art features of the NTDC, which forms a key facility for the University’s existing Centre for Mobility and Transport, include:
• a 6m interactive power wall which allows users to explore detailed design and engineering concepts in virtual reality;
• advanced clay milling facilities for creating physical models of vehicles;
• a projection mapping system which can cast digital images onto 3D objects below, helping designers to assess how multiple options would appear on full-scale models.
The centre is set to address many of the Automotive Council report’s recommendations, with key areas of focus including undergraduate and postgraduate education in transport design, research projects in collaboration with industry, and support for the UK’s high-value manufacturing sector and its supply chain to improve design capability.